I looked at this kaleidoscope of colour in wood and felt refreshed by the diversity of tone. Take one or two pieces out of the whole and someone somewhere will say this or that version of wood is a trash wood. First off there is no such thing as trash wood. All wood is good wood be that hardwood or softwood or hard wood or soft wood, makes no difference. Mostly it comes down to woods we like and don’t like for whatever reason. Also, it might depend on what we use or grow different woods for. Some trees, plane trees for instance, are specifically grown in cities like London to clean up the polluted air London is known best for. In the pre-pallet days and the pre pine plantation world, all trees were known and valued for their multidimensional uses; that’s pit props, boat building and railroad sleepers (ties USA) in oak, and then cedar and ashe juniper, bois d arc or whatever for fence posts to string barbed wire from, mostly depending in where your home/farm/ranch/business was. The tragedy of the age of so much info at our fingertips is our ever-increasing inability to understand how quickly we make things go pear shaped. Palletwood is not a wood per se but a wood used to make pallets from. The softwoods are fast growing and lend themselves to plantation cultivation because they are tall, slender and pretty much branchless in that the branches are short upward pointing rather than spreading 90-degrees to the main stem. The yield from the tree is remarkable and every millimeter of girth can and often does translate into pallet or paper.

Made from scrapped cabinet doors, mahogany, tabletop and some offcut strips of maple. Oh, and some beech wood strips retrieved from scrapped shelving from Mothercare in Cowley, Oxford

There are of course preferred woods, but our calling one over the other something bad doesn’t make it so. Is it more likely that the term trash wood is just our ignorant who call it so? Those who forget that it was already fulfilling its purpose before we trashed it? The tree or the wood itself inside may not be the pretty wood (I’m thinking the more bland woods like birch and aspen, spruce and such) we are looking for, diversely rich in colour and grain, intrinsic strength and thereby something to match our expectations. Perhaps even those given to provocative incitement who like to push buttons and make statements to get a response. It’s all too easy to toss out over-the-shoulder remarks to trash what’s not trash by trashy retorters. I think respecting all woods is critically important and we should never forget that every tree cleans up our act and enables us to breath. If that doesn’t put things into perspective then nothing will.

So, moving on, I gave Hannah two pieces of thin wood I had been listening to myself by flicking the wood with my finger next to my ear. I listen for the tone so that I can read the density and reflect on it. She did the same holding the wood next to her ear so that she could hear the different levels of sound absorbency in one species or piece of the same species and then the different resonance in another. Of course both reverberate to some degree, and when there are extremes, as in this situation, the contrast becomes markedly apparent. I use the word apparent cautiously as we don’t actually see any difference but feel and hear it as is the case with contrast.

From a pallet

I’m making yet another box from scraps of pallet wood as parallel to one I am currently making from my recent skip find of meranti. This wood is a pine that looks, smells and works like the European redwood I grew up working with. I’ve had the wood in dry conditions of low humidity levels for a couple of months. Why would I do this? I think that people have heavily commented that wood pallets are indeed so-called trash wood and I understand that, but it is not what the wood is so much as what distributors in transportation require and do with it. Some pallets are indeed single-use pallets. Often, not always, they will literally be used once and often these pallets can be super-thin with regards being wood of substance, strength and durability. If or when this material, which is almost always a softwood, is to be used in European shipping, it will be spruce or something similarly soft, perhaps birch, pine, fir , larch etc. At other times the pallets may be made from a hardwood that’s soft, as soft as the softwood range of trees. In some pallets, non standards, the pallet may well be made from a good if not top quality pine that’s an inch and more thick. If you do take a nuts and bolts industry like logistics and distribution, that industry cares more about getting goods from A to B on budget and uses materials accordingly. They do not care about the details of pallets. If you just engineered a fine project costing you something in terms of effort, time, money and so on then even the engineer gets involved in ensuring his work is well protected. Wood must be dry, dried down to even 3-5%, otherwise rust and other damage can result, moisture in the components such as gauges, clocks and so on and then too wick between membranes that should not get wet at all. This wood is usually chosen for dryness but then too its lower absorbing properties. Additionally the wood might well need to sustain impact as a protection for what’s loaded on the pallet and ferried by some kind of forklift, pallet truck and eighteen wheeler. These are the pallets I look for on my travels. Where you save is not always in time alone but in purchasing and time. It takes time to go the timber supplier where the wood will never be guaranteed to be any drier than pallets. I generally build up pallet type materials from anywhere I see it. A pallet once stacked two feet high with 4×8 sheetrock had six eight foots of clear 1×6 pine. I used it to make some doors. Nice paint-grade doors.

The second box I am making is a giveaway project to mark a special yet-to-be-decided celebration. It will follow the same pattern as the one shown here but with a different dovetail joint to each of the corners. A true sampler!


  1. Samuel on 18 November 2019 at 11:30 am

    I don’t want to be given to provocative incitement.
    Anyway all my wood is pallet wood or jarrah garden stakes and offcuts.
    I love the hardwood pallets.
    The grain becomes darkened with age and has yellow blushes in parts and some is a lighter brown but very jarrah like and rich.
    The pine I’ve used is icy crisp white.
    Very beautiful.
    I have some trouble with the plane throat always clogging, I bought a replacement thick iron to try and subsequently lost my old iron. So yeah – the original would have been better for everything. Sharpness is also part of it I guess.
    That’s my story about pallets.

    • Paul Sellers on 18 November 2019 at 12:25 pm

      I see nothing inciteful at all Samuel and even when it is we generally allow it as long as it’s not too disrespectful and even then…
      And also, I love to hear other people’s stories and their perceptions anyway.

  2. Ken on 18 November 2019 at 12:52 pm

    “The tragedy of the age of so much info at our fingertips is our ever-increasing inability to understand how quickly we make things go pear shaped.”

    That is far and away the best quote I’ve come across for a very long time and I intend to shamelessly plagiarise it (or, if you prefer, ‘recycle’ it)!

    On the subject of pallets, I could not agree more. Pallet wood is often beautiful, always functional and is cheaper than free. If it is not recycled, it can end up in land-fill – which has to be funded from my taxes!

    The legs of the benches I am currently making were all pallets in their previous lives. It was about 90x45mm and in lengths of about 914mm (about 3.5X1.7inches and 36 inches long). The timber is straight-grained with few knots and, once cleaned, squared, straightened and laminated, has yielded heavy, robust legs. (Within the last few days, I also raided a skip to aquire some longer lengths of old joists etc which will be reincarnated into bench top or apron sections.)

    Timber sold by some DIY stores and timber merchants is expensive and frequently of poor quality. Apart from when I want/need a particulary special wood for a project, pallet timber and other recycled wood gets my vote every time.

  3. Jurandyr on 18 November 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Mr. Sellers, congratulations on your talent, professionalism and dedication.
    At this point, the internet is a blessing as we have its teachings available anytime, all the time.
    Hugs from Brazil !!

  4. John2v on 18 November 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Paul……your picture shows several squares of timber with a contrasting strip set in.
    I would really appreciated if you could advise on tools used PLEASE
    I have a selection of plow planes, wood and metal, plus plenty of patience and enthusiasm.
    How do you avoid tearout on surface, giving a really crisp corner.

    As said I would appreciate a reply…..thank you John

    • Loxmyth on 25 November 2019 at 4:29 pm

      I believe those are laminated, not inlaid — just pieces of wood planed to the same thickness, edge-jointed for flatness and straightness, and glued side to side. Not necessarily in that order.

  5. lou tucker on 18 November 2019 at 1:18 pm

    wooden pallets are a great source of material for all sorts of projects . be it simple shop shelving to jewelry box’s to work benches to foot stools. we tend to see it as a use it and burn it item .with so much ” green thinking ” these days and people screaming ” recycle “, here is a perfect material to do that with.

    • Paul Sellers on 18 November 2019 at 2:31 pm

      Even burning it, as we now know, even for heat, is far from being responsible.

      • John2v on 18 November 2019 at 6:03 pm

        Hi Paul would you please be able to reply to my earlier post regarding striped squares
        Thank you john

        • Paul Sellers on 18 November 2019 at 6:40 pm

          Where is it?

        • Paul Sellers on 19 November 2019 at 9:04 am

          Ah, now I see it. These are simply laminated pieces glued together with strips in the centre forming the striped area. In other words they are all the same thickness but cut to different widths.

      • Brian Anders on 18 November 2019 at 11:55 pm

        Ah, yes, trash wood! As a biologist, I’m always amused at our names for things, as the word or phrase we carry’s all we need to know. Reminds me of the term “weed”. A word applied to any plant who’s virtues have not yet been discovered! We humans tend to be a uppity lot!r

  6. Steve Boyle on 18 November 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I am very fortunate to have access to pallets with occasional oak boards & “clear pine” packing crates 1″ × 14″ × 8′. Some of my woodworking friends consider my wood choices off beat at best. Guess I’m just a kick back to the old New England Yankees. There is an old Yankee saying, Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, Or do without!

  7. lou tucker on 18 November 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Also, we us this term “pallet wood ” as if it was an actual species of tree . Like there is a forest or stand of ” pallet wood ” being grown some where . The same with this elusive ” barn wood ” that I cant find growing any were either. But in today’s world we just use something once then want it out of our sight so that our little corner of the world is nice and clean and easy. Iet’s not over look this source of material that many of us could put to good and permanent use.

  8. Scarlett McCalman on 18 November 2019 at 2:17 pm

    I work in a fabrication shop in Queens, NYC churning out sets and props and store displays that ultimately end up in the garbage. We re-use what we can but much of it is difficult to salvage for large jobs. On the other hand I have a constant flow of scrap wood for my own shop in Brooklyn where I work only with hand tools after rough milling. I compost all of my shavings from my shop and use it for my roof garden. Thanks as always Paul for your insight, everything I have learned about traditional woodworking is from your videos and I am so grateful.

  9. RODNEY MAGEE on 18 November 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I built my workbench from pallets made to carry sheet metal, as it turned out I have enough left over to make another one if I want. It’s all maple, some of which is figured, looks quite nice.

  10. Howard Rwbel on 18 November 2019 at 5:08 pm

    I tried pallet wood, even made an Izzy Swan pallet jack. But the wood in the pallets coming into my area is nothing to get excited about. Add to that screw nails that will not pull out and the additional wear to tools from the dirty wood. I made a couple of planters and a coffin shaped candy box then gave it up as a bad deal.

    • Loxmyth on 25 November 2019 at 4:37 pm

      Unpullable nails: Sometimes the right answer is to just cut around them and discard the joints, or to hole-saw around them. There are also various designs for “pallet busters” which give much more leverage, either homebrew or from various commercial sources — last time I looked, Amazon offered several.

      Think of it like rescuing offcuts. You aren’t usually going to get a long, clear board… but for many purposes you don’t need much length and can tolerate some “defects”… or even make them part of the design.

  11. Roberto on 18 November 2019 at 5:36 pm

    In Seattle se have a nice 4×4 in² supply of various hardwoods that we’re going to be discarded after being used as crate lumber for Boeing. There’s a business that brings them into the city but keeps them stored in the worst condition, as seems to be the norm of the recycled building material stores here… less resistant material used for studs just rots… I did get my workbench legs out of two of those and they were pretty straight. I don’t even know what species they are.

  12. Joe on 18 November 2019 at 6:38 pm

    I wish I had all those various woods handy. I’m working on Christmas gifts (one wall clock done and another in progress). I also plan to make those serving trays you showed about a year ago. All that wood looks perfect for it. I especially love that piece of mesquite that has the knots in it. About the only wood I really don’t like is one that is still oozing sap out of it. That’s mostly because it makes a mess.

  13. Matt Sims on 18 November 2019 at 7:27 pm

    Almost everything I make is recycled wood, including from pallets.
    I buy new when necessary, but avoid it as much as possible, on ecological as much as financial grounds.

    The pieces I make are, for the most part, to fit the wood I have, rather than the other way round.


  14. Danny Roberts on 18 November 2019 at 7:54 pm

    Good for you, Paul, in encouraging re-use (not just pallets) of our nature-given resource – wood.

    And to the rest of you writing above who are doing similar in many different ways – let’s respect wood by not letting it be dumped, or bonfired.

    Keep it up and spread the word.

    • Jim Adams on 25 November 2019 at 4:59 pm

      I am so glad to hear that woodworkers are starting to use wood that has in the past been referred to as “junk” Thank you, Paul for encouraging the re-use of wood that previously would have been burned or thrown in the dump. I live in Canada and am sickened by how much wood our logging industry piles up in the bush to simply burn. I have built some beautiful furniture from wood salvaged from burn piles and pallets as well. A word of caution however. Many pallets that are used to ship internationally are treated with a fungicide/ pesticide so take care when handling them.

  15. Axel Meier on 18 November 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Just recently I asked a furniture maker in my neighbourhood where he is getting his wood from because I thought he could give me some hints where to get it for a fair price (wood here in Switzerland costs a fortune no matter which). He told me that he would not need any more wood since he had stopped making furniture some time ago. People are not willing to pay the price, you know. So he showed me his stock of woods he would be prepared to sell. Better than to burn it all when I close my business, he said. Yo know what, I have a lot of very nice cherry and elm now and I am going to make furniture out of it. I am such a lucky man!

  16. Jeff Rogers on 19 November 2019 at 1:31 am

    I love the hidden gems that can be found by taking pallets apart and planning off the rough fibers and be able to find quarter sawn material or burl or any other unique grain. Most of my projects are made with wood recycled from pallets. For an example of such wood, see the gallery for users projects 2 and look for a cradle built by my son and myself.

    • Chris M. on 4 December 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Do you ever worry about the chemicals in pallets? What do you do to remove the toxins? Thanks.

      • Paul Sellers on 4 December 2019 at 5:19 pm

        Just to jump in here, just in case. Anything to do with toys, children’s products and especially where the child, toddler or baby might have contact with the wood it is vitally important to know what you are using to make it from and that not only means upcycled or recycled materials like wood made into pallets, decking wood and many more but then other woods too some of which are indeed known to be toxic to humans. Consider too animals. As an instance walnut shavings are known to kill horses. Older so-called preservatives used for ground placement as in decks and shed bases were treated with arsenic. Now you’ll get the picture.Here in the UK many packing cases and pallets carry the symbol or notation telling you how it was treated. It’s quite stringent, but then you can get packing cases that come from other countries and continents that may well not be examined by environmental or customs departments so something could slip through the system by intent or mistake.

  17. Keith on 19 November 2019 at 2:01 am

    I wish I knew more people in my area that made small projects. We fill a dumpster with rips and off cuts every couple days. We can’t seem give the stuff away and end up burning a lot. I often take what I see as extremely wasteful, like some curly walnut pieces I grabbed today, but I don’t have enough space to save everything.

    • Craig Humpleby on 25 November 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Try and find your nearest “Mans shed” it’s a charity https://menssheds.org.uk they might take it


      I know it’s not woodworking related but your local Scout or Guide Campsite will probably want it for the kids to use/burn…

    • Loxmyth on 25 November 2019 at 4:41 pm

      There are a number of reuse networks you might announce on. I’ve seen countertop cutouts and such offered on Freecycle, for example.

  18. sla on 19 November 2019 at 8:15 am

    how you deal with holes from nails?

    • Paul Sellers on 19 November 2019 at 10:44 am

      Good question. I mostly cut them out but I won’t waste a longer length for the sake of a nail hole. Someone in a comment rightly said he tended to make the project fit the wood which is also good idea. I think though that I will get back to you on this because I have other ideas `i have never broached on yet.,

    • Paul Sellers on 19 November 2019 at 12:13 pm

      Good question. I mostly cut them out but I won’t waste a longer length for the sake of a nail hole. Someone in a comment rightly said he tended to make the project fit the wood which is also good idea. I think though that I will get back to you on this because I have other ideas I have never broached on yet.,

      • Dan on 19 November 2019 at 1:55 pm

        Taylor guitars made a series of Pallet Wood Guitars in the 90’s to show the importance of the luthier on the sound of the instrument. These guitars have aluminum dots inlaid in the nail holes.

    • Jeff Rogers on 20 November 2019 at 5:11 am

      I leave them in because it looks right to me and I’m not trying to hide the fact it is recycled wood. In some cases, I fill the holes with super glue or epoxy which doesn’t hide the hole, just fills it.

      • Paul Sellers on 20 November 2019 at 9:53 am

        There is room for both. By that I mean to conceal the fact that it was wood made into pallets and then left as is. All too often the suggestion that it is ideal for a “contemporary look”, as boasted by some recycle outfits, is merely a cover for what is often a lack of imagination and even laziness and cheapness. I would like to see much more imagination used than scaffold planks for bookshelves and such. I think every barber shop, hairdressers, cafe and many other shop town in most towns has resorted to this cheap alternative. It was interesting ten years ago but now tiresome to see how little imagination is out there.

    • Mike on 1 December 2019 at 9:33 am

      Drill the nail hole smooth to a predetermined diameter.
      Whittle (chisel) an offcut to form a dowel. Sand smooth in drill chuck.
      Align dowel grain to match. Glue in place.
      Pare with chisel. Plane smooth.

    • JohnM on 9 March 2020 at 12:53 pm

      Since a nail hole crushes the wood rather than removing material I wonder if it is possible to close the hole up with the use of a bit of steam in a similar way to using a damp cloth and an iron to remove dents in timber.

      Putting some glue into the hole & then applying a damp cloth and then heating it with a domestic or soldering iron might work though it will probably only close the surface hole. Anyone care to experiment not sure about the best glue – it has to be water compatible so PVA or Cascomite may work.

  19. Keith on 19 November 2019 at 3:13 pm

    The only worry I have with regard to pallet wood is not knowing how it was treated when being manufactured. If it comes – and you know it – from an EU source, it is less likely to have been treated with anything particularly nasty, but some countries have different standards or perhaps – in the interest of being cheap – more black sheep that are willing to cut corners.

    • sla on 19 November 2019 at 6:30 pm

      It’s not only how it was treated, but where used too.

    • Paul Sellers on 19 November 2019 at 7:26 pm

      I doubt it’s treated for some uses like mechanical goods and such. In fact it is the rarity and recycle outfits strip them down every day and go on to sell the wood as a commercial material.

    • Loxmyth on 25 November 2019 at 4:47 pm

      There can also be questions of what it was used to ship. I’d hesitate to rescue a pallet that carried insecticide, for example, Just In Case there was a significant spill.

      Realistically, I need to start using more wood so I gave room to store what I want to rescue.

  20. Samuel on 19 November 2019 at 11:36 pm

    Domestic pallets seem the best because they aren’t treated at all. HT marked pallets are heat treated commonly from North America and are also desirable.

    • Jeff Rogers on 20 November 2019 at 5:14 am

      According to some online sources, the heat treated (HT) are subjected to 56C for 30 minutes to kill pathogens and other stuff if present. Sounds good to me. It may be my imagination, but HT wood seems to be harder to plane. Anyone else have a theory on this?

  21. Steve on 20 November 2019 at 9:01 am

    I think for nail holes I would drill them out to the nearest dowel size and then glue in a short length and cut / plane it flush. I don’t think it would be too visible.

    • Paul Sellers on 20 November 2019 at 9:47 am

      Sorry, Steve but it would be just as visible and probably look worse if you used dowel.

  22. Bill on 25 November 2019 at 1:22 pm

    I wanted to make a bench top from pallet wood, edge on and laminated it would have been great, and largely free. That is until I worked out how many pallets I needed to use to make the 6×3 feet slab! (Cannot remember rightly but I think that it was more than 50).It was not a short term project. Perhaps something for another day.

  23. Robert O Brunston on 25 November 2019 at 2:01 pm

    I have made many beautiful things from pallotta wood, boxes, panels, marking gauges, planter boxes just to name a few.
    When ever I find a good pallot I grab it and I am happy to get it. 🙂

  24. Noah on 25 November 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Mr Sellers I am middle aged and have just started to enjoy woodworking. It started with two old hand planes I found that were my great uncles, they are from the 1940’s. I searched YouTube to watch how to restore them and watched your first video. Ever since I have restored them and use them a lot. I have expanded my hand tool collection and have built several boxes and have been on a serious dovetail journey. Where I work we have an endless supply of pallets so I used them all the time. I have been working on a project for my wife, a decorative sign and all from pallet wood. Question would you recommend a scrub plane to knock them down or is my 605 good enough. Thanks for the inspiration

    • Paul Frederick on 25 November 2019 at 4:18 pm

      A scrub plane is any plane with a wide mouth and a heavily cambered iron. So worn out planes are good candidates for making them scrub planes. As you’re not looking for a very fine shaving from them. The excessive camber coupled with a wide mouth is what lends the tool to the work it can do. A diagonal and crosshatch pattern with respect to the grain direction is also effective. I know it is hearsay here but I use a thickness planer to surface pallet wood. Does a better job than I can. Hearing protection is mandatory for doing that though. The thickness planer I have is very loud.

  25. Robert W Mielke on 25 November 2019 at 5:12 pm

    It has to be pretty pathetic before I won’t “Dumpster Dive” for free wood. Even the 6″ hardwood flooring samples I receive get set aside for accent pieces in future projects.

    My biggest obstacle to enjoy my woodworking hobby is the availability of real wood. I live in a tiny town on New England that has little in the way of commercial stores for anything, much less any sort of hobby. So, I scrounge!

    A solid walnut table leg gets pulled out of our trash dumpster as well as parts of a discarded rocking chair. Only particle board, chipboard or MDF remain untouched. Beggars can’t be choosy! 🙂

  26. tayler whitehead on 25 November 2019 at 9:52 pm

    recycling wood is not only beneficial for our forests, but it is considerably cheaper. in nz the most popular wood that clients want is rimu. a beautiful timber that is perfect for furniture etc. however, it was extensively milled in the early years and now new timber is scarce and very expensive. luckily for me they used it to build houses until treated pine took over. the demolition yards are a great source for this now. i have found if i buy wall studs and roofing trusses which are either 4×4 or 6×4, they have all been nailed down the middle of the 2 inch side. splitting them into 4×1 or 6×1 i get perfectly clean timber with no nail holes and perfectly dried after 80 years inside a house. i could buy new yes, but at 5 times the price.

    • Tony Garcia on 26 November 2019 at 2:57 am

      Interesting thoughts on wood, Mr. Sellers. Thank you very much.
      I’m currently preparing to move from Japan back to Europe and I’m wondering if it is normal that I’m reluctant to throw away my wood just like trash. But reading your article you have almost convinced me to keep it as my treasure and use it for my future projects in Europe.
      When looking at my very humble stock I find some small but beautifull slabs ( 20x 30 x 4 cm up to 40 x 50cm) and long narrow pieces of Japanese ash, Japanese cedar, tsugi (Japanese boxwood), beech, maple and a bit of ebony.
      Shall I trash it or ship it with my other important belongings.?
      Thank you.

      • Noel Rodrigue on 1 December 2019 at 4:13 pm

        Keep, treasure and … ship! It’s already yours and it will find a use somewhere down the line.

  27. Tony Garcia on 26 November 2019 at 3:03 am

    Interesting thoughts on wood, Mr. Sellers. Thank you very much.
    I’m currently preparing to move from Japan back to Europe and I’m wondering if it is normal that I’m reluctant to throw away my wood just like trash. But reading your article you have almost convinced me to keep it as my treasure and use it for my future projects in Europe.
    When looking at my very humble stock I find some small but beautifull slabs ( 20x 30 x 4 cm up to 40 x 50cm) and long narrow pieces of Japanese ash, Japanese cedar, tsugi (Japanese boxwood), beech, maple and a bit of ebony.
    Shall I trash it or ship it with my other important belongings.?
    Thank you.

  28. Jim on 26 November 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I’m from Sweden and have read a lot about pallet wood projects and have been surprised at the nice things people are making from pallet wood since here in Sweden pallets are made from the simplest, most available wood of the lowest quality which is spruce (or pine) and the boards 1”x4”/2,5x10cm by 4’/120 cm.

    The wood used is almost always fast grown and very unsuitable for anything else than pallets or sometimes a flower bed or other garden project.
    99 % of the pallets that I see are standard format for transport businesses (80×120 cm) intended for repeated use.
    In case of “one time use” pallets are available, they can have other formats but then the dimensions of the boards are even smaller (like 3/4″/18mm thick, 2½”/60 mm wide)

    I have never seen a pallet made from a hardwood and only occasionaly a pallet with wider boards than 10 cm or with grain tight enough or clrear from knots to make it interesting to salvage.

  29. John Cadd on 26 November 2019 at 4:34 pm

    With Brazilian Rain Forests in the news lately I was thinking about the Pernambucco trees that are so valued by violinists for the excellent bows they produce . The Pernambucco wood quality for bows was discovered in France by Francois Tourte where the main point of importing it from Brazil was to crush it up and make dyes for clothing etc material . Pernambucco is an endangered species now. But apart from dye and precious and priceless violin bows , guess what else they used it for—-Railway Sleepers. Now that the shortage of Pernambucco has been realised they have found another species which comes close to the bowmaking quality . But since concrete railway sleepers are more expensive this newly discovered wood for bows is also being chopped up for more Railway Sleepers . Also ,wasteful violin makers preferred pure black ebony fingerboards and so perfectly usable brown shades would have been burned as waste .

    • Paul Sellers on 26 November 2019 at 5:40 pm

      It’s not hard to know what’s right and wrong, it’s mostly about avoiding our own greed. And of course greed may well have nothing to do with money or even selling something to make money, it can simply be choosing an easy way. Living in Texas I saw cocobolo skids in the back of eighteen wheelers back in 1990.

    • Tony Talacko on 26 November 2019 at 6:08 pm

      I have seen a change in the waste of ebony that violin and other stringed instrument makers use. Thanks to Taylor guitar and Bob Taylor now all of the ebony tree is used and the variations in the wood add a special beauty to the instrument.

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